“If you ever encountered this situation…Tough fishing in bluebird skies, little to no breeze right after a cold front, then this is the article for you!”
Who doesn’t love the fall change of season? The leaves are changing, there is a chilly nip in the air and the sweltering heat is beginning to fade from our memories. However, sometimes mother nature will throw a wrench into the mix and make fall fishing really tuff. We’ve all encountered this situation…bluebird skies, little to no breeze right after a cold front. Sound familiar? YES! What do you do? Below we laid out a comprehensive tutorial that you need to do when this happens to you.
Step 1 – Finding The Right Areas – Fall Bass Fishing In Difficult Conditions
“You find the bait, you’ll find the bass!”
Fall fishing can be one of the most productive times of fishing. Shad are moving from the main lake to the coves seeking warmer waters from which the small plankton will be found. In turn, the bass will follow the shad. YOU MUST FIND THE SHAD. If you have a boat with sonar, find the ball of shad. If you do have sonar or fishing from the bank employ mother nature. Look for cranes and heron standing on the waterline. Those birds are not standing there to look pretty, they are highly efficient predators and exactly where to ambush their prey…shad and other small baitfish.
If those areas have submerged brush piles or timber, current breaks, large rocks, grass lines, docks, or bridge pilings…those are great ambush points and other fish will either seek shad or congregate around those areas.
If you want a great sonar but are on a budget then we recommend the Humminbird HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder with Down Imaging. We like this unit the most because it is very user friendly. Humminbird has phenomenal customer service and they offer a great customer forum to help answer any questions you may have when you are getting familiar with your new sonar unit.
The unit offers a wide array of features to help you excel in the water. It offers a large 5-inch display with GPS map and color contour changes. If features dual-beam imaging to that will give you a broad and focused view of what is going on under the sonar.
If you have a larger budget then we recommend the Humminbird Helix 10 SI GPS/Fishfinder with Side Imaging Sonar. It offers all the features the HELIX 5 has PLUS side imaging, which helps you scan the surrounding water without spooking the fish. The display is ultra-bright even in full-sun conditions.
Step 2 – Choosing The Correct Technique – Fall Bass Fishing In Difficult Conditions
“Time to downsize.”
Like most people, it’s smart to start your lure selection with a reaction bait like a swimbait, jigs, spinnerbait, or a jerkbait.
However, it’s important to recognize the hand you’ve been dealt and must change tactics quickly…YOU MUST DOWNSIZE YOU LURE.
Without a doubt, you must downsize your offering. Drop shot and finesse jig fishing are your best options for this situation. Drop shot gives you a presentation that will allow your bait to look like a subtle bream or shad and it will keep it off the lake floor. The finesse jig looks like an innocent crayfish just looking like an easy meal for an opportunistic bass.
Step 3 – Choosing The Correct Drop Shot Bait – Fall Bass Fishing In Difficult Conditions
Choosing a bait is just as important as choosing the right location.
When the fish are finicky and the water is crystal clear, you need to choose a smaller bait that is less than 5 inches. Something like a 4 1/2 inch Roboworm or a 4 inch Strike King KVD Dream Shot will be great. We recommend using natural colors like watermelon, green pumpkin or morning dawn (which looks like a minnow when submerged). Even a small soft plastic jerkbait like the Berkley GULP! Jerk Shad will work great when the bass get used to seeing a worm-looking bait.
Step 4 – Weights For Drop Shot Fishing – Fall Bass Fishing In Difficult Conditions
“Choose the lightest weight possible to get the bait to the bottom and keep it on the bottom, all while not getting hung up.”
The best drop shot weight to start with would be lead skinny drop shot weight. Nothing’s more frustrating than having your fishing weight get snagged on the bottom. Use these Skinny Finesse Drop Shot weights when you are fishing from shore and/or fishing around rocks and cracks. These resist snagging since the skinny shape tends to slip through better and can really make a difference between having a fun day or a frustrating day! Start with the lightest weight available until you feel the bottom but without getting snagged.
If you know you are fishing in an area without a lot of rocks, then chose a ball or teardrop-shaped weight.
When choosing a weight make sure you choose the lightest weight possible to get the bait to the bottom and keep it on the bottom, all while not getting hung up. If fishing from shore, choose a 1/8 – 1/4 ounce weight. Fish will also have a harder time “feeling” that there is a weight attached to the bait the lighter it is.
If you’re fishing 4 feet or less go with the 1/8 – 1/4 ounce weights. These are perfect for spawn bed fishing!
If you’re fishing in 5-10 feet, use our 1/4 ounce weights.
Fishing in 11-15 feet, use our 3/8 ounce weights.
Step 5 – Choose A Finesse Jig – Fall Bass Fishing In Difficult Conditions
Finesse jigs are also very subtle and look very realistic. They can be fished in a variety of ways. The finesse jig was designed to mimic a small helpless crayfish. These little mud-bugs provide nutritious calories that help the bass put on weight in preparation for the winter months. As the colder months approach, the bass start to stack up in specific locations that contain special structure such as vertical timber, rock piles, steep embankments, and drop-offs. Bass will tend to feed more horizontally during the cold fall and winter months, so make sure you find these types of structures. Most importantly these types of structure will have crayfish!
When you fish these baits make sure you slow down your presentation with short hops and pulls instead of the violent quick jerks that we used during the summer.
Be sure to pair your finesse jig with a chuck trailer or a small soft plastic swimbait trailer, both work equally well.